He's 49 and during our 3 years of togetherness, because of his unreliability, heavy drinking, bed wetting, 3am drunken phone calls to me and his ex-girlfriend and reckless spending habits, I would often call it quits, only to go back. Deep down he was kind, gentle and caring. I thought I could change him. I couldn't.
Over the last 6 months, strangely enough he became more reliable and drank less. Unfortunately he then lost his job. He hit an all time low and went into a depression. Broke and penniless he wallowed until the day he got another job. Then he quit that job.
Knowing I wasn't going anywhere with this man, I threw my hands up in the air for the thousandth time and was on a five week stint of not seeing or contacting him. This time, I really felt I could do it. I knew the problem wasn't his, it was mine and my inability to admit defeat, let go of the emotional ties, and walk away so that I could build a better and more stable future for myself.
Then the BOMBSHELL dropped.
It is now nine weeks later.
4 weeks ago, my sister phoned me to tell me that he was very sick and had lost a lot of weight. I told her it was due to his breakdown from losing his job and being penniless. The next day, she phoned again. She told me that she went to see him and that he told her he had cancer. Again, I didn't believe it and thought that he was making up one of his many colourful stories again and being overly dramatic. She suggested that if I left it for more than 2 weeks, he may no longer be on this earth because his appearance was so bad.
Concerned, I went to visit him and found his sister and a shell of a man that I once knew hunched over in a chair trying to find a position of comfort that would free him of pain. For the next 3 weeks, I stayed with him and looked after him, taking him for his doctors appointments and biopsies. His sister couldn't believe the change in him and how much he pepped up when I came back to him.
Terminal lung, liver and pancreatic cancer. 4 weeks to live without chemotherapy, 12 to 16 weeks to live with chemotherapy.
He has been in hospital for the last week and has just had 3 days of chemotherapy which he will have to repeat in three weeks time. It will not cure him, it will only ease his symptoms.
Due to the fact that his daughter is only 21 with a 4 month old baby and his son is only 17, he has no one but me to look after him. His sister wants to place him in a hospice until the end of his days and tries to tell me that it is too big of a job to look after him. I just wanted him to have it however he wanted it and if that meant dying at his home, I wanted to provide it for him with all the palliative care help I could get my hands on.
Would he do this for me? Never in a million years. He'd like to think he could, but he would never be capable.
Starting off with all the best intentions, I have now hit a wall. Somehow I have to find a way to be a bigger person and I don't know where I can possibly draw this strength from. I don't know how I can cope with losing him, watching him wither away in pain, clean him once he's bed ridden and soiling himself, put up with his ex-wife who snobs me and his children who leave their crap laying around for me to clean up, and my ridiculous selfish jealousy pangs when his ex-girlfriend visits him. Which is only natural that she would because she is his friend, he is dying, and she cares. So what's wrong with me. How can I have such selfish feelings at this time.
On one hand, I feel bad if I don't do everything I can to help him.
On the other hand, I feel like I need to walk away.
I'm so torn between all these things that I don't know what to do. Please give me some constructive advice if you have any or have been in a similar situation yourself.